Philae probe rotates itself due to insufficient sunlight to recharge batteries

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The drill operation was planned for a long time. More than a decade ago the spacecraft carrying Philae was launched from Earth in what was a $1.6 billion project. Scientists believe this moment to be an historic one because it is being said that the material beneath the surface of this comet is almost unchanged since 4.5 billion years. Philae probe managed to dig almost 25 centimetres into the comet’s surface. While this was just to collect some samples it could very well be that this will deliver mankind new information which could help us better understand how the universe was formed.

The landing of the Philae probe was no easy task. From the photos that were captured and sent back scientists concluded that Philae bounced twice before successfully remaining still on the surface upon its landing. The bad luck didn’t stop here. Sunlight couldn’t reach 2 out of its 3 solar panels because of a nearby cliff and this meant time the probe could only rely on two or three days of power from its primary battery. Under the pressure of time running out scientists did a risky maneuver and rotated Philae by 35 degrees. This was a risky operation because it could have very well toppled the probe or pushed it out into the void.

For now Philae is silent as its batteries depleted and thus the probe’s systems fell in idle mode. Until enough sunlight gets to it Philae will remain like this. Fortunately, just before this happened Philae was able to send all data it gathered to its mother ship which flies through space in tandem with the comet. Philae’s mother ship will use its 11 instruments on-board to check over the comet during the upcoming months.

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